Embedded font data: can users extract it without permission?

Many fonts are available with licenses sufficient to embed them in games, provided the end user cannot edit documents (i.e. not a word processing “game”), and also provided that the user cannot extract the original font file (eg. TTF).

Does Unity sufficiently embed font data to abide by this license condition?

For example, FontFont (“the world’s largest library of original contemporary typefaces”) gives this permission:

You may embed the Font Software in
documents, applications or devices
… as a subset of the Font
Software as long as the document,
application or device is distributed
in a secure format that permits only
the viewing and printing but not the
editing of the text.

As you can see, this is perfect for Unity games.

Currently, the Unity documentation is unclear, merely saying “Note that fonts are subject to copyright and you should only include fonts that you have licensed or created for yourself.” - licensed in what way?

Perhaps Unity already uses PFR (Portable Font Resources) as the embedded data? BitStream explicitly mentions allowing PFR in their license (though they’re not as helpful as FontFont in defining a “document” to include an application).

Knowing this will open up a wide range of legal and wallet-suitable font assets to Unity developers.

I have researched this further and I have determined that while a .unity3d file is probably of a sufficiently encrypted format, dynamic fonts include the entire TTF and are therefore not sufficient for the subset requirement. Therefore, I believe (but I am not a lawyer), that static fonts in bitmap form are covered by the FontFont license, but not dynamic fonts.

Well, i think the license of the fonts really means that you should deliver the fonts to someone in there base format.

When you have packaged it with unity, i think you have done enough to stop the spreading of your font.

With ‘licenced’ they mean you have permission from who-ever holds the rights to use it. If the site you download it from says you’re free to use it on your applications as long as people cannot extract it from there then that’s their licencing agreement.

Note that assets used inside a unity projects can still be extracted. But it’s definitely save enough to fall within the bounds of a ‘secure format’.

Just make sure you are also free to use the font in a commercial project. :wink: